Aggressiveness: Ridgid’s sander has two modes, with 1/8” and 1/4” orbit settings. It works essentially like Festool’s Rotex sanders, but at a much cheaper price.…
In 1/4” orbit mode it was the most aggressive of the random-orbit sanders we tested (not including the Rotex), but it did so with a rough trail behind it that needed considerable finish sanding to smooth out. In 1/8” orbit mode it tied for most aggressive. Finish quality: Ridgid’s finish quality is on par with the rest of the field: 220 grit to remove scratches. But this has to be in the 1/8” orbit mode—the 1/4” mode is just too aggressive and not meant for fine finish. Dust collection: This model did surprisingly well at collecting dust with its cloth bag—and keeping it contained in the bag. We rated it second-best at dust collection using the attachments. Hooking up to a vacuum hose proves a little more trouble because it has ports for 1-1/4” and 2-1/4” hoses, but they’re short stems and don’t hold the hoses very well, especially if working on large pieces. But when they’re attached to a vac, dust collection is very good. Vibration/Comfort: It vibrates quite a lot in the 1/4” orbit mode, more so than any other sander, but you have to expect that, and you won’t use that mode very often. Still, it’s not that unruly to handle in that mode, and it’s a good option to have for times when you really need to hog off large amounts of wood, such as flattening an edge-glued panel. In 1/8” orbit mode it handled nicely despite the worst vibration among the five sanders we tested. When we were finished with it each time our arms and hands tingled for probably 20 minutes or so—more noticeable than the others. It has a front handle as well as the main handle, but you can leave it off if you want to grip by the body, but it gets hot after a while. We like gripping it by the top as well as by the main handle and two-handed. Other factors: The variable-speed dial is marked in six increments marked A through F; it’s not intuitive to know which is fastest, but it’s not that big a deal because we seldom change speeds on our ROS. To change the sanding pad requires removing four large Torx screws (an unusual size), but there’s no such wrench included with the tool. This is a driver bit or screwdriver you’ll have to find in automotive tool stores or pro tool or contractor-type stores. It doesn’t come with any kind of storage box or bag, and that’s a downside because it helps to store it to protect the pad. Its pad brake takes the longest time to stop the pad from spinning at 10 seconds.
Ease of Use
out of 5